Author: Dan Feldman

Nets getting their own D-League affiliate


The Nets have looked like a D-League team this season.

Soon, they’ll have an actual D-League team to make them look better by comparison.

Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:

After spending two years without an affiliate, the Nets will resume control of one next season, sources said. An official announcement will come Friday.

Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark let the cat out of the bag Thursday morning at the groundbreaking of the renovation of Nassau Coliseum, saying there would be a “major announcement” about professional basketball coming to the Coliseum in the future.

That would be a new D-League affiliate for the Nets, which will begin play next season at Barclays Center before transitioning to its new home at the renovated Coliseum beginning with the 2017-18 season.

With the Bulls, Hornets and maybe Hawks, this will leave just seven or eight NBA teams without a D-League affiliate. Eventually, that list will shrink to zero. We’re clearly headed to each team having its own affiliate.

The Nets’ location choice is interesting. Perhaps, their trying to carve into the Knicks’ fan base on Long Island.

Dario Saric insists he’ll sign with 76ers next summer

Dario Saric

Dario Saric signed a contract before the 2014 NBA draft that would seemingly keep him in Europe at least two more seasons.

Since, Saric – the No. 12 pick in 2014 whose rights are held by the 76ers – has been linked to jumping stateside two years ago and last year. Obviously, neither happened.

Saric has always said he’d most likely join the NBA in 2016, but this is the most definitive he has been.

Saric, via Vecernji list:

I am in constant contact with the Sixers, they wanted me as soon as possible, but I have a contract with Efes.

But in the summer I will still go because I have a way out in the contract.

I still have doubts for one major reason: If Saric waits another year, he’ll no longer be tied to the restrictive rookie scale. He’d be free to negotiate any contract in 2017.

Next summer, his only option will be a four-year $10,749,666 deal with $4,740,840 guaranteed, two team options and the likely fate of restricted free agency if he completes the contract. If he accepts those terms, it’d be great for the 76ers, not so great for Saric.

Philadelphia should be encouraged Saric is speaking so emphatically about signing next summer, but he also talked – though not nearly as resolutely – about signing the last two years. I need to see more proof before becoming totally convinced he’ll be a 76er next season.

Report: Nuggets signing Kostas Papanikolaou, waiving Erick Green

Blake Griffin, Kostas Papanikolaou
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The Nuggets didn’t want to pay Kostas Papanikolaou $4,797,664 this season.

But getting him for a lesser amount?


Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Erick Green, who has played just seven minutes this season, will get his $100,000 guarantee. My guess is he clears waivers. He’s a score-first point guard who doesn’t score well enough to justify his lack of distributing skills.

Papanikolaou is a more intriguing player – a versatile forward who must shoot better than he did as a Rockets rookie last season. It’s no lock he’ll become a viable NBA rotation player, but Denver clearly valued him as more than just a throw-in in the Ty Lawson trade. After the Nuggets waived him, Papanikolaou could’ve signed anywhere, but he clearly liked something about Denver’s offer.

This is a minor move, but a swap in the right direction for the Nuggets.

Kevin Durant calls Russell Westbrook Thunder’s best player

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook

A few months ago, Kevin Durant was calling himself the world’s best player.

Now – after averaging 29.2 points on 49.5% shooting with 6.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, mind you – he says he’s not even the Thunder’s best player.

He gives that title to Russell Westbrook.

Durant, via Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

We let our best player, Russell, we let him control the game.

This might just be a humble Durant complimenting a teammate he likes

But Durant deferring too much to Westbrook has been a problem over the years.

Durant is Oklahoma City’s best player, and he must recognize it for the Thunder to maximize their potential. He can’t just stand off to the side, waiting for Westbrook to pass to him. Westbrook – energetic, confident and the lead ball-handler – will get his own shots whether or not Durant tries to take over. Durant doesn’t have the same luxury. He needs to assert himself.

Players don’t always say what they mean, and if this is just Durant being nice, OK. But there’s too much evidence to brush this statement off as something that has no effect on the court.

LeBron James admits sleeve issue might be mental

LeBron James

LeBron James ripping his sleeved jersey last been a longtime coming.

LeBron has loathed sleeved jerseys practically since they became popular in the NBA.

Joe Vardon of

So it would stand to reason that James might be a little miffed that the Cavs again put him in one of those things. Except, they asked and received his approval, and, he worked out in them.

“I don’t know, it might be mental, man,” James said Wednesday night. “That’s OK. The jerseys are nice, we love the jerseys, the black looks great. It’s been a while since this franchise has worn black, so it’s great to be out there and wear those uniforms.

“I was just, I was in my own way, I was a little frustrated with my shot and couldn’t make a bucket, so like I said I had to take it out on something.”

The Cavs plan to wear the shirts again, and James said he’s fine with that, too.

“If the fans love them, I love them. I think that’s all it’s about,” he said.

I’m glad LeBron admitted this was more mental than the cloth actually restraining his shooting motion.

LeBron missed all six of his attempts away from the rim – including two free throws – before ripping his sleeve. He improved to 5-for-11 – including 4-for-6 from the line – afterward, but that left him just 1-for-5 on ripped-sleeve jumpers.

This is too small an issue for LeBron to get worked up about. If he wants to steam about his shaky outside shooting so far this season – 2-for-18 on 3-pointers – that’s much more understandable.